Speaking to reporters after visiting the Bodhjungnagar real estate area where an All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) hospital has been proposed to be set up, Deb said that in Tripura around one lakh kilogram of illegal cannabis were being produced annually and some 20,000 kg was seized after the Bharatiya Janata Party- Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (BJP-IPFT) Government came to power in the State in March this year.
Deb remarked that under the previous Manik Sarkar Government marijuana cultivation got a “leg-up” in the last 20 years. Deb, who has promised to make Tripura drug-free, alleged, “I feel so sorry for what Manik Sarkar has done. Highest ganja cultivation used to take place in his constituency Dhanpur. One lakh kilogram of ganja is cultivated in Tripura and out of that we could confiscate only 20,000 kg. This has not happened in one day. It has been going on for the last 20 to 25 years and under the very nose of Manik Sarkar!”
Deb claimed that Dhanpur, the home constituency of Manik Sarkar, is known for producing the highest amount of ganja every year. He said that he will not ‘forgive’ Manik Sarkar for “encouraging the cultivation of marijuana which gradually flourished in Tripura during Sarkar’s tenure as the CM.”
The CM fumed, “Even the devil will think twice before doing something as catastrophic as marijuana cultivation People will never forgive him for his misdeeds. I shall never forgive him. He is senior to me in age so I respect him but for this, I will never forgive him. Manik Sarkar was aware about it while in power, but he washed his hands off the entire episode by “feigning ignorance”.
Deb hinted that his Cabinet might bring in a new law against the drug mafias so that they ‘cool their heels’ behind bars for a lifetime! During the last four months some 20,000 kg of dry marijuana, besides huge quantity of Yuba tablets, codeine-based cough syrups, brown sugar and heroin has been destroyed besides more than 100 drug peddlers being arrested including suspension of at least five police officials linked with the drugs business.